Psychopathy: A Study in Duality

13 03 2011

Hello there, and how are things with you? As you can guess from the title this isn’t going to be one of my happy go lucky posts. So if you’re feeling brave, strap yourself in and let the ride begin.

A friend recently asked me if I thought that picturing the walls of a nightclub painted red with blood was dark. My response was no. What I wasn’t prepared to admit at the time was that, for me, that kind of mental imagery is normal and, to a degree, tame.

Previous posts have noted my diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I can’t remember if I mentioned that it’s very closely related to Antisocial Personality Disorder and I can’t be bothered to trawl through posts to check. Anyway, they are and so it’s no real surprise to learn that both feature the very unmedical terminology of ‘psychopath’ and ‘sociopath’, not officially recognised in the DSM but that’s by the by.

To clear something up, psychopath and sociopath appear to be interchangable so I’m sticking with psychopath as it’s a term I’m more at home with for some reason.

So, it’s fair to say that I display traits of a psychopath thanks to an inability to show empathy, a predisposition to fuck with people for fun, and violent thought processes usually disproportionate to cause and with an element of gamesmanship. Having fun so far?

Possibly one of the best portrayals of a psychopath is that of the late Heath Ledgers Joker in The Dark Knight. It captures all of what I mentioned above and shows the desire to play because… well, just because. As Alfred the butler said; “Some people just want to see the world burn”. Ok, it may be that the Joker is an exaggeration of your friendly neighbourhood psychopath, but it’s not a significant one so the comparisson is still valid. There’s definately no fun in receiving pain for the Joker, as exampled in the interrogation scene, it’s just part of the game. The most fun for him came from messing with peoples heads, allowing them to get themselves in trouble. Despite not being able to show empathy (and no desire to I’m guessing), he was very adept in identifying the facets of interpersonal relationships and exploiting them effectively.

Sounds like I admire him doesn’t it, and you’d be right. Why? The Joker was an out and out psychopath, everything that is, nothing that’s not. One thing that really causes me distress is that I have all the malevolent thought processes yet I have the guilt.

Very un-psychopathic behaviour.

I could quite happily be one or the other, a psychopath or a normal person, but having both at the same time? That’s no fun.

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